Ropewalker advice

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Ropewalker advice

Postby tamarmole » Sep 1, 2013 1:41 pm

Hi,

I am a UK based mine explorer mainly active in the Tamar Valley (where Devon joins Cornwall - the sticky out bit in the south west).

For the past few months I have been tinkering with rope walking. In a land where frogging is universal I am considered by my mates as something of a dangerous heretic.

The problem I have is that there is little or no first hand experience of ropewalking on this side of the pond and I am ploughing a lonely furrow. What there is dates from the 1970s when British caving was a tad more open to experimentation.

To date I have built myself a twin roller chest box (on the lines of the Bluewater box) and harness which I am pretty happy with.

What I am not so happy with is setting up my jammers:

My mark one rig consisted of a floating knee jammer (Petzl Basic) on my right foot with a bungee over my shoulder to the back of my sit harness and a Pantin on the left. This worked moderately well although I despair at the Pantin which drops the rope at every opportunity. In desperation I locked the Pantin with a crab but this doesn't strike me as an elegant solution.

The mark two rig was a full blown double bungee ropewalker: Basic on left foot, basic floating at knee height on right. They were connected by a bungee running though a pulley on the chest box. I ran the QAS line through the second roller. This worked fine in practice (twenty foot oak tree) however when I used the system in anger in a sixty foot mine shaft after thirty feet of satisfactory progress I found that the bungee chord was binding and I was forced to manually pull my jammers up.

Do I persevere with the double bungee rig or do I start thinking about the mark three?
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Re: Ropewalker advice

Postby rebelfirefighter » Sep 3, 2013 7:25 am

are your bungees getting caught in your ascenders?
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Re: Ropewalker advice

Postby Scott McCrea » Sep 3, 2013 8:52 am

What was binding the bungee cord?

Keep going... mark three, four, eleven, twenty-seven... Each time you will learn something and eventually you'll get it just right. Maybe you'll even learn something you can share.

FYI, the ropewalker in the UK was called the "Howie System" or "Howiewalker." Or something to do with Howie from Howie's Harnesses. IIRC, Howie went caving there in the 80's and made some for the Brits.
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Re: Ropewalker advice

Postby trogman » Sep 3, 2013 9:18 am

Not sure if it will matter, but I always use the knee ascender on the left leg. (left=long)

Occasionally the bungee will try to get caught in various parts of the gear, so you have to experiment to see what works.

Another ropewalker trick that helps- slide your knee pad around to protect the leg from the ascender beating up on it.

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Re: Ropewalker advice

Postby Chads93GT » Sep 3, 2013 3:09 pm

Left knee = basic. when you get on rope, start at your lowest attachment and work your way up. With a basic on the left knee you should not be getting the bungee caught in the ascender.

dont give up. a ropewalker is very smooth and easy when its set up properly. Usually ropewalkers have a croll on the right foot, basic on left knee, and thats the basics of it.

I also have a croll on my harness (frog) that I also use when rope walking. Makes crossing lips very easy when you disconnect the roller box. I also use a cowstail, not a single QAS like most ropewalkers ive seen.
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Re: Ropewalker advice

Postby tamarmole » Sep 3, 2013 3:59 pm

Thanks very much for the help chaps.

The bungee was snarling in the vicinity of the pulley which hangs off the chest box - In addition the bungee may have been dragging on my more than ample gut.

I think my next move (the mark three) may well be independent bungees from both jammers running over my shoulders to the back of my harness.

That said I quite fancy putting together a foot harness for the basic (a la pantin). Has anyone done this?
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Re: Ropewalker advice

Postby Scott McCrea » Sep 3, 2013 5:43 pm

I tried strapping a Basic to my foot, like the Pantin, some years ago. I didn't like it because it twisted my foot/ankle under.
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Re: Ropewalker advice

Postby paul » Sep 4, 2013 6:12 am

tamarmole wrote:That said I quite fancy putting together a foot harness for the basic (a la pantin). Has anyone done this?


Yes - Phil Brown at Caving Supplies in Buxton used to sell exactly that. I don't know if he still does since the Pantin came out though.
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Re: Ropewalker advice

Postby tamarmole » Sep 4, 2013 9:36 am

paul wrote:
tamarmole wrote:That said I quite fancy putting together a foot harness for the basic (a la pantin). Has anyone done this?


Yes - Phil Brown at Caving Supplies in Buxton used to sell exactly that. I don't know if he still does since the Pantin came out though.


Not on the CS website.

Caving supplies used to produce some cracking kit - I still use a protex helmet and a CS sit harness, knocks the spots off anything Petzl produce.
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Re: Ropewalker advice

Postby Extremeophile » Sep 4, 2013 9:38 am

I've ropewalked with a Pantin on the right foot and a Basic at knee level and a single bungee over the shoulder for the left foot. This works reasonably well, but there's a bit more torque on the right ankle than if you use a foot harness and Croll suspended just above the right foot, which is the current standard practice. In most cases using a Pantin in a Frog system requires only putting half your body weight on the Pantin foot with each stroke, whereas with a ropewalker you are placing 100% of your weight on that foot with each alternating step. Either approach works for ropewalking, but I think the Croll/foot harness/double-bungee system is more comfortable on longer pitches.

I've had problems with clothing getting sucked into the small brass pulley used for the double-bungee, and this has been solved by the pinch protector sold by On Rope 1. The pulley sits inside this nylon housing and keeps things running smoothly. I would recommend trying this rather than deal with two separate bungees.
http://onrope1.com/store/index.php?p=product&id=423&parent=7
I have been advised by those more knowledgeable than I that it's important to connect the double-bungee pulley directly in the middle of the chest plate. Rigging it to one side or other will cause it to bind.
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Re: Ropewalker advice

Postby tamarmole » Sep 4, 2013 12:20 pm

Extremeophile wrote:I've ropewalked with a Pantin on the right foot and a Basic at knee level and a single bungee over the shoulder for the left foot. This works reasonably well, but there's a bit more torque on the right ankle than if you use a foot harness and Croll suspended just above the right foot, which is the current standard practice. In most cases using a Pantin in a Frog system requires only putting half your body weight on the Pantin foot with each stroke, whereas with a ropewalker you are placing 100% of your weight on that foot with each alternating step. Either approach works for ropewalking, but I think the Croll/foot harness/double-bungee system is more comfortable on longer pitches.

I've had problems with clothing getting sucked into the small brass pulley used for the double-bungee, and this has been solved by the pinch protector sold by On Rope 1. The pulley sits inside this nylon housing and keeps things running smoothly. I would recommend trying this rather than deal with two separate bungees.
http://onrope1.com/store/index.php?p=product&id=423&parent=7
I have been advised by those more knowledgeable than I that it's important to connect the double-bungee pulley directly in the middle of the chest plate. Rigging it to one side or other will cause it to bind.


Interesting......

My pulley is hanging centrally from the chest roller; I have a hole drilled in the back plate on either side of the roller unit; a 4mm piece of chord runs between the holes and the pulley sits on the chord, riding about half an inch below the bottom of the back plate. My thinking being that this will allow the pulley to equalise centrally when under load (which it seems to do).

I had toyed with letting the pulley ride on a piece of rubber (salvaged from a car inner tube) to stop it snagging my oversuit.
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Re: Ropewalker advice

Postby Chads93GT » Sep 4, 2013 2:29 pm

Extremeophile wrote:I have been advised by those more knowledgeable than I that it's important to connect the double-bungee pulley directly in the middle of the chest plate. Rigging it to one side or other will cause it to bind.


That is a definite myth. I ALWAYS attach my pully to the far left slot of the rock exotica roller that I use and it never binds. I do this because of my croll (frogging) that is attached to my D ring.

I used to do the double pully method, but found it a waste due to achieving the same results with placing the pully to the far left. This keeps it away from the croll gate and the bungees never get sucked into the gate with the rope. I also use the smallest bungee available without dropping down to the really tiny stuff that has the white tracers. You don't need 1/4" thick bungee or larger to make it work.

What WILL cause it to bind is poor posture, slouching and slumping. You have to keep your back straight when climbing so your bungees are under load during every inch of possible movement. Slouching (poor posture) causes slack in the bungees and they wont work, and it will obviously cause issues. This is one reason why I opt for the frogging croll on my D ring when rope walking. Inevitably when you cross a bad lip, bungees lose tension and its very hard to climb because of this. Using the second croll allows me to "frog" over lips with little hesitation.




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Re: Ropewalker advice

Postby Extremeophile » Sep 4, 2013 3:28 pm

Chads93GT wrote:
Extremeophile wrote:I have been advised by those more knowledgeable than I that it's important to connect the double-bungee pulley directly in the middle of the chest plate. Rigging it to one side or other will cause it to bind.


That is a definite myth.

Good to know. It was told to me by someone that should know, and I didn't question the advice.

I opt for the frogging croll on my D ring when rope walking.

I've heard you mention this many times before and never took the time to figure out what you were talking about. Lately I've been having difficulty getting linked images to open with either Explorer or Chrome (but that's for another thread). From the thumbnail image it looks like you don't have a lot of room for your left knee ascender to move up before it contacts your Croll. Maybe your style is to take lots of short quick steps, but this might be a limitation for some. I like the idea of being able to dispense with the ascender above the chest roller, but with the relatively high steps I usually take I'm pretty certain a Croll would be in the way.
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Re: Ropewalker advice

Postby tamarmole » Sep 4, 2013 3:52 pm

Chads93GT wrote:
Extremeophile wrote:I have been advised by those more knowledgeable than I that it's important to connect the double-bungee pulley directly in the middle of the chest plate. Rigging it to one side or other will cause it to bind.


That is a definite myth. I ALWAYS attach my pully to the far left slot of the rock exotica roller that I use and it never binds. I do this because of my croll (frogging) that is attached to my D ring.

I used to do the double pully method, but found it a waste due to achieving the same results with placing the pully to the far left. This keeps it away from the croll gate and the bungees never get sucked into the gate with the rope. I also use the smallest bungee available without dropping down to the really tiny stuff that has the white tracers. You don't need 1/4" thick bungee or larger to make it work.

What WILL cause it to bind is poor posture, slouching and slumping. You have to keep your back straight when climbing so your bungees are under load during every inch of possible movement. Slouching (poor posture) causes slack in the bungees and they wont work, and it will obviously cause issues. This is one reason why I opt for the frogging croll on my D ring when rope walking. Inevitably when you cross a bad lip, bungees lose tension and its very hard to climb because of this. Using the second croll allows me to "frog" over lips with little hesitation.




Image


Lots of food for thought. I must say I really appreciate the help you guys are giving me - this sort of knowledge / level of experience just isn't available in the UK.

I particularly like the use of the frog rigged croll. That's something I will try. From my point of view I can see two advantages:

Firstly it avoids faffing (is that a word that you chaps understand?) with a QAS running through my second roller.

Secondly it would allow me to rapidly change to frog which is an advantage with sometimes quite complex British rigging. This is something I have yet to address. The shaft that I tried my double bungee system out on had an awkward free hanging take off, to get off the pitch I stationed an assistant at the top. The ability to change to frog would make this manoeuvre a whole lot easier.
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Re: Ropewalker advice

Postby Chads93GT » Sep 4, 2013 4:08 pm

Extremeophile wrote:
Chads93GT wrote:
Extremeophile wrote:I have been advised by those more knowledgeable than I that it's important to connect the double-bungee pulley directly in the middle of the chest plate. Rigging it to one side or other will cause it to bind.


That is a definite myth.

Good to know. It was told to me by someone that should know, and I didn't question the advice.

I opt for the frogging croll on my D ring when rope walking.

I've heard you mention this many times before and never took the time to figure out what you were talking about. Lately I've been having difficulty getting linked images to open with either Explorer or Chrome (but that's for another thread). From the thumbnail image it looks like you don't have a lot of room for your left knee ascender to move up before it contacts your Croll. Maybe your style is to take lots of short quick steps, but this might be a limitation for some. I like the idea of being able to dispense with the ascender above the chest roller, but with the relatively high steps I usually take I'm pretty certain a Croll would be in the way.


Derick (I think thats right)

I am 6'3" so I take quite large steps as well. I have the basic centered between both crolls. Setup usually involves standing in front of a mirror. That being said I still manage to get a 14 or 16" step out. Or maybe larger, I honestly have never measured it, I just know I'm not taking a full blown maximum step, as that would wear me out anyway. I haven't rope walked without the croll since I first went to Ellisons and did a crossover trip 3 years ago. That is also when I started using a cowstail with my rope walker instead of a single adjustable OR1 qas, or 2 qas's. Ive never looked back and I've climbed miles and miles.

IN the picture I am set up for rope climbing for endurance and cardio, hence no rack or cowstail, just the ascenders. If you want me to email you better photos, pm me your email address.

Ive played around with this setup a lot and I see more and more people down at TAG with their rope walkers set up this way as well.
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